23 May

Defenestration is the act of throwing someone or something out of a window. There were two incidents in the history of Bohemia in which multiple people were defenestrated. The first occurred in 1419 and the second in 1618, although the term “Defenestration of Prague” more commonly refers to the later incident.

Conflict had arisen between the Bohemian Protestant Estates and their Catholic ruler over construction of Protestant churches on Royal land. A meeting was convened on 23 May at the Bohemian Chancellory where this crisis came to a head. Protestants threw three senior officials out a window as a consequence. All three victims survived the 70 feet (21 metres) fall from the third floor. Catholics maintained the men were saved by angels or by the intercession of the Virgin Mary, who caught them; later Protestant pamphleteers asserted that they survived due to falling onto a dung heap, a story unknown to contemporaries and probably coined in response to divine intervention claims.

Immediately after the Defenestration, the Protestant estates and Catholic Habsburgs started gathering allies for war. This would lead to the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648).